A commercial diver might have found a lost decommissioned US nuclear bomb off the coast of Canada.
Sean Smyrichinsky had been diving for sea cucumbers close to British Columbia when he found a large metal device that supposedly looked like a flying saucer.
The Canadian Department of National Defense (DND) thought that it could be a nuke lost from a US B-36 bomber that crashed there in the year 1950.
Fortunately the government doesn’t believe that the bomb contains any active nuclear material.
They sent military ships out to the site, close to Haida Gwaii archipelago, to verify the find.
Mr. Smyrichinsky stated he found the device while diving off the coast of Pitt Island nearby to Haida Gwaii during early October. This site is close to the Alaskan border with British Columbia. The piece was larger than a king-sized bed, rounded on the bottom and perfectly flat on the top, with a hole in the center.
Sean joked with his fellow divers that he thought he found something from a UFO. He stated that the area is remote; he had to wait a couple of days before he was able to go into town and find someone who may have known what it was. One of his older friends from the area stated that he might have found a nuke that was lost there during the 50s.
It might have sounded like something from a thriller movie, but accidents can happen. Many nuclear weapons were sometimes lost during the Cold War; often it takes years for the full story to emerge.
There was a crash in 1968 when a US bomber was approaching the Thule military base and went down. Portions of a nuclear weapon sank beneath the ice. Though submarines were sent to recover parts of the weapon, not everything was able to be recovered.
Two years before that crash another B-52 bomber went down in Palomares in Spain. During that case, three other weapons were discovered on the ground, but a fourth was located after two more months of searching the sea.
The level of secrecy that surrounded nuclear weapons during the Cold War meant that often the complete details of what happened were classified. This was partly to avoid giving away the secrets of weapon designs, but also due to the fear of how local people would respond.
The story of the lost nuke has perplexed military historians for over a half century. In 1950, American B-36 Bomber 075 crashed close to British Columbia on the way to the Carswell Air Force Base located in Texas. The plane had been on a secret mission to simulate a nuclear strike. The plane had a real Mark IV nuclear bomb in place to see if it could handle the payload.
After several hours into the flight, its engines caught fire and the crew had to parachute out to safety. Of the crew of 17 men, five did not make it.
The American military stated that the bomb was filled with uranium, lead, and TNT but not plutonium; it wasn’t capable of causing a nuclear explosion. The crew had the plane on autopilot and set it to crash into the middle of the ocean. Yet three years later, the wreckage was discovered hundreds of kilometers inland.
An aviation historian from British Columbia, Dirk Septer, stated that the US government searched the wreck but was not able to find the weapon. He claimed that it was a mystery to everyone. It was the height of the Cold War, and they were just paranoid that the Russians might get ahold of it.
Crew members have stated that they dumped the bomb into the ocean first. They feared what the payload of TNT could do on its own if it was detonated.
A spokesperson from DND stated that the department had conferred with its American counterparts, and that the item the diver discovered could be the bomb. The American military doesn’t believe that the bomb is active or even a threat to anyone, but Canada is going to send military ships just to make sure. Mr. Septer stated that the diver’s location was wrong, even given what we know about the plane crash. He said it could be anything; whatever was found, it is not the nuke.
Maybe one day soon we will be able to find out exactly where this nuke came from.